A self-taught artist, Jean Graves very soon turned to animal art. From the age of twelve he used to sneak into the Jardin des Plantes to study animals ‘ad vivum’. There he started to grow aware of his scope of talents and of his preference for the animal theme. He thus introduced himself to sculpture, using clay, wood, stone, plaster or bronze. In 1926, he was received in the very private circle of the Salon des Animaliers. Four years later, he took part in the Salon des Artistes Français et Indépendants and was awarded the Grand Prix animalier Marcel Sandoz.